Decision Analysis for Enhanced Geothermal Systems Geothermal Project

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Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title Decision Analysis for Enhanced Geothermal Systems
Project Type / Topic 1 Recovery Act: Enhanced Geothermal Systems Component Research and Development/Analysis
Project Type / Topic 2 Geothermal Analysis
Project Description The result of the proposed research will be a decision analysis procedure, with which the cost and time required for development of an EGS can be assessed. The results will be in the form of cost and time distributions, i.e. the decision in selecting a particular alternative can be made on the basis of risk. Emphasis is placed on the subsurface part where the greatest uncertainties reside, while the surface part is considered in a simplified but sufficient manner.
State Massachusetts
Objectives Develop a decision analysis procedure consisting of an integrated set of computerized tools (modules), with which an Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) development can be assessed.
Awardees (Company / Institution) Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Awardee Website

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000075
DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $549,148.00
Awardee Cost Share $157,290.00
Total Project Cost $706,438.00

Principal Investigator(s) Herbert H. Einstein

Targets / Milestones - Task 1 and 2 involve the adaptation and development of the existing stochastic fracture pattern model to also include stimulated fractures and of a tunnel cost/time estimation model to model well drilling processes.

- Task 3 builds on Task 2 and develops a simple circulation/heat transfer model.
- All this is then combined in a subsurface cost/time model with a simplified expression of heat exchange at the surface to produce cost/time distributions for an EGS (Task 4).
- In Task 5 another problematic aspect is addressed, the placement of exploratory features during the planning stage, where additional uncertainties, namely, the interpretation of the exploration results occur. All this can be considered using a tool involving “virtual exploration”, with which one can compare the effect of different exploratory locations (and numbers) on project cost. This allows the planner to optimally locate explorations.
- In Task 6, the submodels developed in the preceding tasks are put together and they are made accessible to EGS stakeholders from whom feedback is to be obtained. This will allow for improvement to the tools and to make the Technology Transfer effective.

Location of Project Cambridge, MA
42.3750°, -71.1056°

Impacts The project will develop a decision analysis procedure consisting of an integrated set of computerized tools (modules), with which an EGS development can be assessed. Specifically, time and cost distributions will be obtained with this analysis, which in turn allow one to compare alternatives on the basis of risk.Strong team will cost out carbon dioxide as working fluid for EGS.
Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs